Despite everything, let’s try and enter 2021 like the pissed bloke who legally changed his name to Celine Dion

The year hasn't started the way anybody wanted it to, but one story captured the carefree fun and silliness of old. If we harness this energy, we might be OK

A few years ago, when I was working in an office (sort of weird, big buildings you dreaded going to, where you were forever making tea and hiding in the loo), a courier buzzed for my colleague and plonked a large package from ASOS on her desk. She thought perhaps it was a gift from a PR, until she opened it to reveal the most hideous dress we’d ever seen. Grabbing at the delivery note, she was stunned and then hysterical to find out that she had in fact ordered it herself, while plastered, at 2AM a couple of nights before.

I’m sure she would be thrilled to know that in the grand scheme of things, her awful (baby pink and blue, huge puffy blancmange) dress was small-fry in comparison to Thomas Dodd, a man from Staffordshire, who got drank a bottle of champagne on Christmas Eve and legally changed his name to Celine Dion. He received the paperwork days later, with no memory of what he’d done. But it’s All Coming Back To Him Now.

As these things go, it’s a pretty fabulous drunken cock-up. I know people who have booked expensive, non-refundable trips to Thailand while pissed (they went); who have had tattoos (obvs) and not remembered until waking; who got an Uber ‘home’ and woke up in the office; and those who ordered Christmas presents and bought pets whilst blackout drunk. A friend recently told me he’d done too much acid the previous Christmas and legally changed his name to Ganesh The Awesome. Imagine writing that on a drivers’ licence form. I also know a man who was told the day after a house party that his long-term crush had finally lead him upstairs to the bathroom, but upon being inebriated and going into autopilot, proceeded to go to the loo in front of her. It wasn’t a wee. They never spoke again.

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So under these circumstances (and maybe I need to acquire calmer friends), Thomas’ mishap perhaps could’ve been worse. But I think this takes the biscuit for funniest – and most glam, of course. What was even going through his head? “I really like Celine Dion, so I will BECOME CELINE DION.” He was watching her concert at the time. I bet he didn’t even ‘Think Twice’. That’s some serious star quality from the Canadian legend.

Luckily Thomas has seen the funny side, telling The New York Post, “Initially, I had to sit down as I couldn’t believe it – so I then checked my bank which confirmed it all. Once it sunk in, I signed it straight away as I bloody love her!” You bloody love yourself now Thomas, sorry, Celine. The great thing is, even after the papers came through and ‘Celine’ was sober, he signed them anyway. I like him. After 2020 what better way to try and create some sort of barrier between yourself and possibly the worst year on record than renaming yourself after an icon?

Presumably this means that Thomas/Celine should now try to emulate the life and career of the megastar, perhaps by marrying a man who looks like his own Grandad and then finding his fashion feet after his death, parading around Paris Fashion Weeks looking like an extremely stylish Quality Street. I can’t imagine it’ll hurt when he rings up a restaurant to book a table either – that or they’ll slam the phone down thinking he’s taking the piss.

When it comes to celebrities you’re gonna name yourself after this one is up there, Beyonce or Cher is just one word, you’ll look silly; much better to go old-school with something that people wouldn’t necessarily think was a joke, but that might get you some perks. Consider Leslie Garrett, Bonnie Tyler or Sue Perkins. Something to peak the interest, but leave an air of mystery. At the very least you might get a free dessert out of it.

Celine Dion: an icon. Credit: Getty

The best thing about this story is its inane stupidity, there was no mention of the EU, Trump or a deadly virus – it’s a pissed-up Brit naming himself after a camp singer. Can we have more of this in 2021 please? We know all the bad stuff already. Give us five minutes of essential updates (‘You can now leave your houses’ would be a key one) at the start, and then just stupid stuff like this. Cats in human clothes, drunken mistakes, a weekly check-in with how much money Four Seasons Total Landscaping is still making from merch, and maybe an interview with Ganesh The Awesome.

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